When Did the Republicans Become Such Whiners?

Is losing too daunting a prospect for GOP voters now?

Editorial Cartoon

When did rural, Republican voters become namby-pamby whiners? A number of things have bothered me about the GOP plan to gerrymander the Electoral College, not least of which being the anti-democratic (as opposed to anti-Democratic) quality to it—what I have characterized as an iniquitous attempt to bargain with an unfriendly reality, and what New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait calls winning without actually having to win.

Sure the shameless power grab is deeply annoying. But so are the pusillanimous excuses foisted by its advocates.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

In case you missed it, some swing-state Republicans want to change the way their states allot electoral votes. The states in question all went for Obama and have Republican governors; the scheme floated would allocate electors by congressional district, in many case awarding the majority of electoral votes to the candidate who got a minority of the votes. Like I said, it's a pretty transparent attempt to rig the Electoral College, and as such has mostly collapsed under its own weight as the media and the public focus on it.

But it's worth listening to the excuses proffered for the idea. Virginia state Sen. Charles Carrico Sr., who sponsored the defunct bill in the commonwealth, told the Washington Post that his constituents "were concerned that it didn't matter what they did, that more densely populated areas were going to outvote them." And, as Chait relays, there's Jase Bolger, the speaker of the Michigan house:

I hear that more and more from our citizens in various parts of the state of Michigan, that they don't feel like their vote for president counts, because another area of the state may dominate that or could sway their vote.

Or to sum up Carrico and Bolger: "Wah!"

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

Their constituents worry that they might lose elections because their views are in a minority? Suck it up and try to talk your way back into the majority. They don't feel like their vote counts because they might lose? Losing is a part of life and it's concomitant with politics in a free society. Participating in the political system is a right—winning is a privilege that has to be earned by dint of getting a majority of your fellow citizens to cast their precious ballots for you. (And, by the way, voting is a right which tends to be much easier to exercise in rural areas than in urban ones where lines can stretch for hours.)

And guess what—the fact is that being in the political minority is neither an excuse not to vote nor an excuse try to rig the process.

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